Sam Altman to return as OpenAI CEO after dramatic board overhaul
OpenAI had been enmeshed in a leadership crisis over the past week.
OpenAI, the ChatGPT developer, said it “reached an agreement in principle” to reinstate Sam Altman as chief executive following his recent shock departure.
The AI company revealed this arrangement on Wednesday, outlining the formation of a new board chaired by former Twitter board Chairman Bret Taylor. The board includes notable figures like former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo. D’Angelo is the sole remaining member of the previous board.
Over the past week, OpenAI had been enmeshed in a leadership crisis culminating in two interim CEO appointments within three days.
Pressure from major stakeholders, including Microsoft and OpenAI staff, advocating for Altman’s return significantly influenced the board. However, instead of reinstating Altman, they replaced Murati with Emmet Shear on Nov. 20—a move that generated more heat for the company.
Altman subsequently joined Microsoft to head a new advanced AI research team.
But with this new development, Altman will return to lead the firm he co-founded. Acknowledging the move, he expressed commitment to maintaining the team’s unity and mission, saying:
“”i love openai, and everything i’ve done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together. when i decided to join msft on sun evening, it was clear that was the best path for me and the team. with the new board and w satya’s support, i’m looking forward to returning to openai, and building on our strong partnership with msft.”
Former President Greg Brockman has also affirmed his return, highlighting the move as progress that will bolster the company’s unity.
Brockman further shared a photo featuring OpenAI team members, signaling their return with the caption, “We are so back.” He emphasized his readiness to resume coding and portrayed the reinstatement as a significant step forward for the company’s strength and coherence.
Interim CEO Shear expressed satisfaction with the team’s reinstatement, remarking:
“This was the pathway that maximized safety alongside doing right by all stakeholders involved. I’m glad to have been a part of the solution.”